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Feeling Sorry?- Tell Someone Who Cares: THe Irrelevance of Remorse in Sentencing

Bagaric, Mirko
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Howard Journal. 40(4): 364-376.

A fundamental moral proscription is that people should not violate the important interests of others, such as the right to life, physical integrity and property. Minimum standards of human decency require that when people breach this important proscription by breaking the criminal law, the least that is expected of them is that they show some contrition. It follows the offenders who are remorseful should no be treated more leniently. The purpose of this article is to debunk the widely held intuitive view that remorseful offenders should be dealt with less harshly than other offenders. We argue that irrespective of which of the main theories of punishment one adopts, remorse is irrelevant in sentencing and that should henceforth be disregarded as a sentencing considerations. Even in the context of restorative theories of justice, remorse only has a marginal role. (author’s abstract).


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